Beaverton, OR forcing me to give up my birds :(

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by wyattburp, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. wyattburp

    wyattburp Hatching

    Jul 22, 2007
    Pacific NW
    Where to start...

    We've had chickens in the city for awhile now, and we checked the city code before we got them. The city code states:

    5.05.025 Livestock and Poultry.

    Except for household pets and as otherwise permitted by the Code or other City ordinance, no person shall keep or maintain livestock or poultry within the City.

    We read this to say that if they chickens were our pets, and not for other uses, they would be fine to have. Chickens kept solely for production, etc aren't housed in coups that cost over $1000 to build (for 4 chickens).

    We just received a letter (due to a neighbor that has nothing better to do apparently) from the city demanding we remove them or face citation. They were so nice to give us less than 2 weeks to do so (well, 2 weeks from the date that they wrote the letter...)

    I spoke with the city code person and they stated more or less that chickens are not allowed since chickens don't live indoors (note the code states "household pets") and I have no recourse to appeal with the city. They (they being one person, apparently the buck stops with that one person) told me the only thing I can do is take the citation and contest it in court. I don't understand why I can't take it to court BEFORE I get fined, but I'm not claiming to be judiciously-inclined...

    They gave me an example of when it's OK to keep livestock in city limits - someone they knew owned and kept inside, their pot-bellied pig. They said it was OK since it lived inside... I WONDER, If we attach the coup to the side of our house, and build a door or sorts to join the two, would they consider my chickens to be "living indoors".... None of this makes sense to me BTW, thus my babbling... I can't believe we have to face the possibility of giving up these feathered friends (PETS) of ours!

    If you're from the area and haven't seen it on the news recently, the city planning commission met a little while ago to discuss potentially legalizing chickens like Portland has done. (I also heard through rumors that the city actually has no intention of legalizing chickens, and the meetings are only to satisfy griping citizens...whatever) They decided to postpone any more public meetings about it until the city can do more "research".

    The current city code is so unclear, I don't see how this one person is able to enforce it without prejudice.

    And to think, I'm only 200 or so yards from the Beaverton boundary with Aloha...201 yards to the west and I would be able to keep my birds!! How frustrating!

    Power to the chickens!
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Email the enforcer pictures of your chooks inside with diapers yourself some time to get that "doggy/chicken door" installed?
  3. 8wishbonechicks

    8wishbonechicks In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2009
    As the Constitution states, everyone has the right to pursue their own happiness. Chickens have always been and will be in the backyards of families across our nation, even way back in the early settlers time. It is unconstitutional for someone to tell you what animals you can or cannot raise on your property, as long as the ordinances are met and the animals are well provided for. If the coup is attached to your house, it is considered part of the house as homeowners insurance does cover it. If the state wants you to remove them, I believe the state is infringing on your rights to happiness as a pet owner as stated in the Constitution. We are allowed to have chickens as long as they don't break the ordinance by crowing between 10pm to 6am. Neighbors constantly barking dogs, parties and neighbors roaring their motorcycles all during the night are louder than my chickens. I wish you luck and I hope you can keep your chickens.
  4. thoughtsbysabian

    thoughtsbysabian In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2009
    Hawley, PA
    I am sorry to hear about your problems, and I wish you the best of luck. However I must comment on your idea to attach the coop to your house and say they live inside. I worry that you may be making more trouble for yourself by doing so. Keep in mind that by doing that, the township may say that you put an addition on your house without permits, proper inspections, ect, ect, ect, thus causing much larger citation and fines. Depending on where you live, I didn't notice if you mentioned it, and If you were VERY serious about attaching your coop to your house. You would need to get sealed prints drawn up, have them approved by the town building inspector, pull permits, and have all phases of construction (framing, insulation, elec, pluming, and all finish work) inspected by the town. Once again I am sorry to hear that the town, and your noisy neighbors are giving you problems. I hope it all works out for you.... Good Luck.
  5. 8wishbonechicks

    8wishbonechicks In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2009
    Oh Wyattburp, if you take the citation, its an admittance of guilt through a court of law. You can go to the court and appeal without taking the citation. City code and ordinances is nothing compared to state or Constitutional Supreme Court law. But its if you want to take it that far in court with a lawyer. I hate people that use scare tactics to take advantage of people who doesn't know their rights. That burns me up something fierce.[​IMG] I really hope you can keep them. Theres just got to be a loop hole somewhere in your city code. The attached coop might just work. Good luck. I heard one woman got a petition signed by her supporting neighbors and won her case in town hall. Just a thought.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  6. 8wishbonechicks

    8wishbonechicks In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2009
    Good points of information, Thoughtsbysabian![​IMG]
  7. rachaelc

    rachaelc Songster

    Mar 27, 2009
    So sorry to hear about this baloney. I live in Newberg,Or and checked to see if we could and its fine to have chickens. The fact that you live so close to the boundary is so frustrating.
    My suggestion is to get a letter from a dr. or counselor that they are your "companion " pets, that they provide you with emotional support. In my experience with the "Reasonable accomodation" through the American Disabilities Act you could very well circumvent the citation with this designation.
    I know my chickens provide me with lots of emotional support besides great eggs and compost.
    Landlords that deny pets cannot deny a companion animal. I am pretty sure the city will have to comply as well..special license you.
    Good luck,

    Rachael C-mother of all
  8. cnjtnt

    cnjtnt In the Brooder

    Nov 17, 2009
    Federal Way, WA
    I was raised in Beaverton for the first few years of my life, and I know they can be nutty. Maybe you could find someone else at the city who will let you be a "test case" for their proposed new law to allow poultry.
  9. I don't know if you're familiar with the similar problems the folks in Salem, OR are having. You might check out this web site to see if there's anything there that can help you:

    Good luck!
  10. VA from WV

    VA from WV Songster

    Sep 26, 2009
    Eastern Pandhandle WV

    Or you could build an indoor coop for them that opens to a chicken door.

    When you find the neighbor, sue the pants off of them for emotional stress.

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